How radical is student engagement? (And what is it for?)

Buckley, Alex (2014) How radical is student engagement? (And what is it for?). Student Engagement and Experience Journal, 3 (2). pp. 1-23. (

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This paper argues that the term ‘student engagement’ as used in UK higher education covers activities with two distinct sets of benefits: those that are pedagogical, and those that are political. Without an overarching account of the value of student engagement that can unify these two sets of benefits, the concept of student engagement in the UK is therefore fundamentally fractured. The paper proposes that critical pedagogy can provide that underpinning account, but at the expense of the current mainstream nature of student engagement. The paper therefore argues that those working in student engagement in UK higher education face a dilemma: either sacrifice the idea of student engagement as a popular solution to mainstream challenges, or give up the idea that student engagement has a unified set of benefits and coherent purpose.